An attitude change accompanied the roster overhaul when head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over the San Francisco 49ers last year. The locker room hasn't seemed this tight-knit since the team's glory days.

"This is probably the best locker room in my 14-year career that I've ever been a part of," veteran kicker Robbie Gould said in May.

The new 49ers culture has everything to do with the approach Shanahan and Lynch have taken in rebuilding the roster. The two are also building an identity for a team that, for years, seemed to lack one.

"There are two guys, Kyle and John, that have done a great job of bringing in the right people and that's what it's about," Gould continued.

Preseason games are often viewed as meaningless scrimmages. Thursday night's 24-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys seemed anything but meaningless while observing the players' reactions after the game. You would have thought the team had just earned a playoff birth. The young squad knows something special is being built in San Francisco and the players are excited to be a part of it.

It didn't matter that it was third-string quarterback Nick Mullens who led the game-winning drive in the closing minutes. It didn't matter that the result of a preseason matchup against a once bitter rival will have no real impact on the standings or the upcoming season. In fact, the matchup will likely be quickly forgotten once the regular season kicks off.

What does matter is the 49ers players love playing together, and that was on full display on Thursday night. They are a brotherhood, and that type of culture can quickly result in success.

"That is what it is all about," second-year safety Adrian Colbert said after the game. "That is how you build a great foundation by supporting each other from top to bottom, from bottom to top. That is how it is supposed to be.

"If you see people on the sideline not showing love, showing support, thinking about some other stuff and not paying attention to the game. How do you think that will make your teammates feel? If they feel like they don't have any support, then they are not going to want to play for you. If they don't want to play for you, then they will not be able to go out there and do stuff for you like that."

Fans at Levi's Stadium on Thursday night got to witness a team that didn't give up — even if it was just an exhibition game. It was a 49ers team that was fighting for its coaches, everyone in the stands, and, most importantly, each other. Players were fighting to make sure they remain a part of the growing culture.

The 49ers' final drive of the game showed the character that makes up this year's squad.

"Nick (Mullens) came in confident with us in the huddle," running back Jeremy McNichols after the game. "I think that just carried on with everyone else. He went in and said, 'We are going to win this game.' Everybody felt that energy and we went down and won."

The newfound culture started with Shanahan and Lynch last offseason and culminated with the team's five-game win streak to end last season. The Faithful hope that success will continue in 2018. Was Thursday's clutch team performance a preview of things to come?

"Yes. 100-percent," Colbert responded. "That is how we have to bring it in. That is how we have to finish, and we are going to finish that way. We are going to keep the train rolling."